This is my recipe for hummus - which is super easy and super yummy. Make some and keep it in your fridge for school or work lunches, morning or afternoon tea snacks, spreading onto breakfast toast, taking to a party, or dipping veggie sticks into. I make it without using any canned chickpeas (it's cheaper this way, reduces the waste of the packaging, and tastes yummier). I buy organic and Australian grown chickpeas in bulk from my health-food shop and soak them myself. It's homemade from scratch, naturally vegan and gluten-free, and plastic-free as well. But most importantly it tastes delicious and my whole family loves it!Read more
Feeling raw in this life can be the hardest thing there is. But it's the only thing, for me. I don't want to - I will not live a watered down life, for anyone. I know now that I do not want to have to self-edit what I think / feel / or say, just to make someone else feel comfortable. Why oh why do I keep walking around trying to make people feel ok or comfortable, when my journey is about moving beyond the boundaries of comfort and ease.Read more
I am slowly slowly getting my garden becoming more of a thing. The dahlias, cosmos and zinnias from Summer’s garden are still blooming quite abundantly, but it’s all looking a little overgrown and end-of-season-ish. A couple of weeks ago, we made a new garden bed, and I planted out the indigo and woad. As well as some other things that needed to from pots to the ground.Read more
Dyeing eggs for Easter is a traditional craft that has it’s origins in pagan Springtime festivals. Like many things, different religions have appropriated aspects and now today we in the Southern Hemisphere celebrate an Autumn-Wintery version of renewal and new growth after the Northern Hemisphere’s Winter’ dark.Read more
I spent a good many days during the hot of January and into early February dyeing fabric. Using local colour (mostly) to creates a bundle of fabric that feels like Summer’s sherbets and sorbets. Gathering from my garden and surrounding landscapeRead more
A few things lately ❄️✨ I’m feeling a little disconnected somehow from being here. I know it’s me, and I know it’s because I want more - more depth than these squares allow. These are the beginning glimpse, but actually I want to delve further. I feel like sometimes in this space we’re standing outside talking and it’s very lovely - we’re chatting. But I want to go inside and know more, hear more, see more, feel more.Read more
I’ve been listening to an album called 12 Moons, by Jan Gabarek Group. It’s mostly instrumental with some vocals (in a language I don’t know, which makes it sound like an instrument rather than words).
And now I’m stitching moons. Small squares (ish) of indigo dyed linen and whatever bits of thread I have left.Read more
Every year we try to plant a garden, of some sort or other. Some years we’ve had flourishing garden, picking veges and flowers, other years barely anything at all. Some years it’s determined by the floods or the lack of water. I’ve done a lot of hand watering, carrying buckets from the creek to the garden over the yearsRead more
My daughter made these sweet little baskets this weekend. She’s tried in the past, and given up after only a few minutes - but as I always find with learning things, making things, and with parenting… you just need to leave the supplies there ready for when they’re ready, give them space and not push them into making something you might want.Read more
Let’s be truthful here, if we wanted to have a truly eco Christmas we’d probably not even celebrate at all… but I love giving gifts, and I love any excuse for family to gather around a special meal together. And if once a year we all make the extra effort, perhaps it’s worth it. Also - it’s absolutely and totally possible to celebrate without forgetting the ethos that you live with the rest of the year, and also a great time to share that with othersRead more
Dyeing with coreopsis is like making sunshine. I haven’t even pulled the fabric from the dye pot, and I’m already in love. I’ll be honest and say I’ve been on the lookout for coreopsis flowers around me for a long time. When I saw some pots of colour at the little local nursery, I had to bring some home, as it seems there’s none growing anywhere nearby for wild picking.
This is pretty much one of the easiest dyes around. Flowers like this are full of colour, just waiting to imbue their warmth onto your cloth or yarn. You do need to prep your materials first, pre-mordant and all that. But apart from that you really can’t go wrong with dyeing with luscious blooms like this. I have the details of how to dye with flowers on online ecourse (and I’m working slowly on an ebook as well, join my newsletter list if you want to know when).
In the sunshine warmth that we have at the moment, solar dyeing is the best option. Any chance that I have to reduce the resources of my dyeing process, I’m happy to go that way. I wish I could solar dye everything, and often I do a lot, but some things do need direct heat, and some days the sun just doesn’t come out. But I am ever conscious of the impact of my dyeing - the gas used to heat the dye bath, as well as the water needed, and the mordants that I use. Not to mention the fabrics and yarns themselves.
Is this important to you, in your practice? The whole process of how you dye, where the materials come from, and what they’re used for?
I’ll be back with the results of the dye pots next week. Once the fabrics have soaked up all that colour, and have dried. For now, I really wanted to share these photos because they make me so happy - such glorious colour.
If you want to try it yourself, here’s a quick how-to dye with coreopsis flowers :
Scour, then pre-mordant your fabric or yarn*
Gather as many flower heads as you can. I’m using fresh flowers, but dried works as well. I’ll be adding extra flowers to the jar all week, as more bloom and are ready for picking. But aim to use at least 50%, ideally 100% weight of flowers to fibres. With most dyes (fresh flowers) the more dye stuffs you have, the more intense the colour, and the better results you get.
Fill a large glass jar with the flower heads, then pour kettle boiled water over it. Just like making tea. The colour will show itself straight away.
Put your rinsed material straight into the jar, on top of the flowers and give it a little stir. Close the lid and leave the jar in the sunshine for at least a day, and up to a week. Depending on a) what depth of colour you want and b) how much sunshine you’re getting. Move the jar around to get the most light / heat.
Stir the fabric every day, so that it is more evenly dyed. Or otherwise you can leave it, and the folds create little landscapes, patterns and designs. A very beautiful way to dye.
*(I use alum, but not sure if I’ll buy more once I’ve finished this batch up, but I don’t know that soya beans are any better. The ethics of it all is a bit much for me sometimes).
NOTE: If you’re dyeing yarn, it’s best to the put the flowers into a fabric mesh bag - like a large muslin tea bag or even a produce bag. This way you can add more flowers, and build up the colour over the days, but not have to worry about the petals getting stuck in your yarn. No need to worry about this with fabric, but you still can do it to create more of a consistent dye without patterns, if you’d like.
I used three different types of coreopsis. Also known as tickseed, they’re actually part of the daisy family. As far as I can tell there are a lot of different varieties - I’d suggest looking out for the yellow ones, especially these bigger fluffy ones. While the smaller two (in my photos) looked yellow-red tinged when I poured the water over them, the cloth so far is looking more brownish than the brilliant yellow of the larger coreopsis. Waiting to see if they turn out blugh-brown or ahhh-brown…..
Keep your eyes peeled for those bright yellow flower heads - I hear of people finding them on roadsides, council plots and cemeteries. You can pick them and freeze or dry them, while they’re in abundance. They like being deadheaded, so don’t worry about taking them from the plant. Leave one or two heads for the bees. I’m pretty sure they’re easy to grow in your garden, but this being my first time I can’t tell you from experience.
If you want to read more natural dyeing tips, how-tos or processes, these ones might interest you: eucalyptus & rust dyeing, garden bundle dyeing, dyeing with golden rod flowers (perfect for late-Summer foraging), and dyeing with turmeric (while not very lightfast, it’s such a satisfying & easy dye for simple projects).
I am working on some new pieces, with the hopes to get myself together to have a solo exhibition next year. I need to put the entry in by the end of this month.
Nothing ever stays the same > Pondering the way that my visual voice shifts & morphs, but I think still similar. Do you think? Do you see ‘me’ in my weavings and my stitch work?
I guess the only way is just to listen to my whisper, the quiet soulful voice of working with the muse and making my work. And if I make it with my own voice, then it must be my voice.
These pieces look totem-ish to me. They feel like trees of memories. I know what the exhibition will be called (I’m going to keep that quiet to myself for a little while). But it’s about memories, motherhood, self, ideas, thoughts, the shifting shadows in our souls & minds ... and other stuff. Haha.
Thought I should finally start using this blog to document my process as I happens. Small quick snippets of work. Would you be interested in seeing that?
Its raining here today. Again. Yesterday was pure glorious sunshine and now we are back to the moody skies, those feelings of internalising a day. It’s been raining for weeks. But the grey clouds have a good way of talking to me.
I saw the moon last night. A moment of wakefulness.
Heres the fabrics - naturally dyed with a combination of eucalyptus, iron-y water, seedpods & leaves gathered, bark (eucalyptus), silky oak leaves, rose leaves, onion skins. And the pinks are ranunculus & anemone flowers - the darkest purple ones. I can’t wait for more of them next Spring!
I’m using a combination of vintage kimono silk, scraps of other fabrics from my collections and also a little bit of new silk or linen.
This work feels, to me, like the ripe opening - the pulling of my soul. The near-whiteness of the external with the colours hidden underneath.. like caves of colours, pockets of what we keep hidden to protect us, to protect our internal thoughts, emotions, feelings. I wanted to share these pockets - to be opened up.Read more
This is the colour palette that I’ve been working with lately. It’s so very different than what I’d usually use or work with, and maybe that’s the reason I’m loving it so much. It’s always good to mix things up isn’t it - to push ourselves in a new direction. Maybe it’s just because seriously, look how good it all looks together.. So shimmery and lovely. I’m making tea quilts out of these pieces of my naturally dyed fabrics.
The goldens and yellows were all dyed with onion skins - if you’ve never dyed with onion skins before (either red or brown onions), they’re seriously the most satisfying to dye with. So much colour, so much depth and variation with different fabrics, weights and weaves, and different processes in the dye pot.
The greys are eucalyptus which was overdyed with iron. Here’s a little how-to if you wanna do this; it’s a great way to ‘fix up’ a piece that wasn’t so spectacular in the first dye pot, because sometimes that happens. And over-dyeing is the best ways to rework a piece of naturally dyed fabric or yarn.
Anyway - tea quilts. Ain’t that a sweet name. I’m not sure where I first saw it (somewhere on the vast amazing internet of inspiration - though I just did a teeny search and most images come up as quilts with tea cups on them… so mine isn’t that). These are lovely little placemats just for one person, for you to sit and enjoy your quiet moments of sipping tea.
A dreamy little moment we can all hope for. Quiet tea sipping and pondering some thoughtful words.
Lately I’ve been asked about my ‘process’, and sometimes it’s hard to articulate exactly what and where and how. Mostly - it comes in spurts and bursts. Keeping on trying, feeling and catching teeny glimpses of inspiration and working with that. And then pushing on without the inspiration. I feel like we have to be here ready and waiting, and working and always working, the inspiration comes and goes, but if we’re not here working then it will most probably slip on by without stopping beside us.
What do you think? Do you agree?
My process is mostly based on the materials themselves, and the pockets of time that I have to work within. I am learning to not limit myself to one form or one medium or only one ‘style’. Sometimes words come out, sometimes images, sometimes simply lines and rows of stitching.
The process of these pieces mostly came about by the dye pot colours. I have a vague idea of what colours or what dye stuffs (plants / flowers / etc) that I want to work with, but then I allow things to evolve. Once the colours showed themselves to me… quilt ideas started forming. The greys particularly keep talking to me and leading me somewhere further and further.
A lot of my work is a journey towards the next thing. While I’m working on something, ideas are forming and evolving and becoming more articulate, easily to recognise and put into form (rather than vague images / dreams in my head). The process of making a piece guides and informs the next piece.
I don’t often use a sketchbook or plan out what I’m making, because the piece becomes the sketchbook for the next piece. If that make sense at all.
So - my process for my creative making & art-making is :
having materials that inspire me - natural materials, in colours of the earth & sky & ocean (ie - naturally dyed. I am being drawn more and more to the more muted hues of things lately, as a general rule - but not always, of course!).
grabbing any and every moment when something sparks in me - and making it happen. Or writing little snippets of words down to guide me at a later time.
always having materials on hand - even just a small pile of fabrics, needle & thread. In my handbag, in the car, beside my bag, little baskets around the house
being open to what evolves. Not doing a lot of self-editing while the inspiration is flowing. Just moving with it, trying to listen and hone in my own voice.
when the inspiration strikes I get offline (no Instagram or Pinterest to distract me, or pull me away from my own voice), and I settle into where I am.
having lots of unfinished pieces. This is ok, because these often form and spark ideas down the track. Nothing is every complete.
remembering that I am ever evolving, as a person, as a creative, as an artist - and it’s ok for my work to keep evolving.
and just doing the work. Keeping on doing it, showing up again & again & again.